Day Of Reckoning Nigh At Another Furness Church

Day Of Reckoning Nigh At Another Furness Church

 

Pews remain untouched in the nave | Photo: Bradley Maule

Pews remain untouched in the nave | Photo: Bradley Maule

Another church with ties to Frank Furness is quietly falling apart in West Philadelphia.

The former Episcopal Church of the Atonement at 47th Street & Kingsessing Avenue has been served with a 30-day “repair or demolish” notice by the Department of Licenses and Inspections. Known as St. Peter’s Church of Christ since 1979, the building has several violations dating to 2008, including loose bricks and a dilapidated roof.

Bell phone tower: a series of cell phone antennae installed on the church's bell tower failed to bring in the revenue needed to stabilize the church | Photo: Bradley Maule

Bell phone tower: a series of cell phone antennae installed on the church’s bell tower failed to bring in the revenue needed to stabilize the church | Photo: Bradley Maule

After neighbors complained about its deteriorating condition, the church installed a series of cell phone antennae on its bell tower as a last ditch effort to secure funds and stabilize the building. Attempts to reach the church administration failed.

The original Church of the Atonement was founded in 1847 and located at 17th and Summer Streets. After the parish disbanded in 1896, a new Church of the Atonement was constructed in 1900; its parish house next door was built in 1892. Originally called St. Paul’s, it was renamed to honor the memory of the old Atonement’s rector, Dr. Benjamin Watson, who died in 1899.

The design was the work of Furness, Evans and Company. Another Furness work, the Memorial Church of the Holy Comforter (now known as 19th Street Baptist) in Point Breeze, has also visibly deteriorated, although its congregation has been able to secure the building.

About the author

Christopher Mote covers stories of preservation, planning, zoning and development. He lives in South Philadelphia and has a special fondness for brownstone churches and mansard roofs.

Send him a message at: motecw[at]hotmail[dot]com



7 Comments


  1. Either of these on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places?

  2. how did you get the photo of the interior?

  3. If you can have a ten year tax abatement for condos……… Why not dangle that carrot out in front of developers to save these places.. No breaks for anyone until all these places are saved. THINK ABOUT IT ! Maybe a voter ballot , ask Philadelphians if they want to reserve any further tax abatements breaks , whatever it’s called for structures the historical society , archectual groups , VOTERS ! Want to save . How many more churches and schools have to be destroyed before we look like one big subdivision ? The Edison school on lehigh and 7th is being ripped apart as I write this . If they offered breaks when it was first closed it would have been converted , but a save a lots going in there with some fast food joint , ( whatever happened to helping out Germantown ave just down the street ? ) don’t you save a commercial corridor by pushing new stores THERE ? With all the mty stores on Germantown they couldn’t carve out space for a save a lot there ? People visit philly for its rich history and we just keep tearing it down . ……….. This is just SAD !

  4. No one wants to live there. Build whatever you want there, no one will move to it. It’s not a great building, and it’s in a horrible neighborhood.

    • As a building it is superior to any of the garbage the “architects” of today are putting out.

      Crime is low and they keep it that way with a volunteer police substation. The poverty level is just below the average from the city average and the average home value is above average for the city. Compared to an actual horrible neighborhood like Fairhill, where the poverty rate is more than double what it is here and homes half the price. It is Squirrel Hill for shits sake man, it either part of or just outside of University City depending on what map you are looking at.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Recent Posts
Unlisted Philadelphia: Atlantic Snuff Company

Unlisted Philadelphia: Atlantic Snuff Company

February 17, 2017  |  Unlisted Philadelphia

Architectural illustrator Ben Leech spotlights unique and significant buildings not protected on the local register with his series, Unlisted Philadelphia. In this installment, a High Victorian in Chinatown that's still up to snuff > more

Inside The Empty, Gilded Halls Of Elkins Estate

Inside The Empty, Gilded Halls Of Elkins Estate

February 16, 2017  |  Last Light

Photographer Kris Catherine gives an exclusive look inside the opulent mansions of Elkins Estate > more

Dial Up For The Latest Election News

Dial Up For The Latest Election News

February 14, 2017  |  Harry K's Encyclopedia

Harry K. dials up the Evening Telegraph Information Bureau, a pilot communications service in 1905 that provided Keystone Telephone customers with news and information at a moment's notice > more

La Salle University Threatens Germantown Landmarks

La Salle University Threatens Germantown Landmarks

February 9, 2017  |  Soapbox

On Friday, the Historical Commission will consider legal protections for two historic Germantown homes. Owners La Salle University will oppose the nominations to retain their right to demolition. Arielle Harris makes a case for saving these two Wister family properties and reveals La Salle's long tradition of razing neighborhood landmarks > more

Paging Dr. Typewriter: Healing Old Tech On Fabric Row

Paging Dr. Typewriter: Healing Old Tech On Fabric Row

February 8, 2017  |  Walk the Walk

Bryan Kravitz brings old Remingtons back from the dead at his repair shop in Mt. Airy and typing salon in South Philly. Joe Brin has the story > more

An Indelible Corner Of The Eraserhood

An Indelible Corner Of The Eraserhood

February 7, 2017  |  The Shadow Knows

The Shadow heads down to the corner of Ridge Avenue and 11th Street where an attractive wire and steel warehouse stands out like a diamond among broken glass > more